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Hierarchy and Nature?

Posts: 121
Location: Missoula, MT
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Taking a cue from the other forums on this site, I wanted to pose a more dynamic, heartfelt question. This isn't specifically about Missoula. Still, I would like to get Missoula opinions since you are the people I see every day. 

On another forum here there was a thread about lawns in which someone stated that forests are the pinnacle of plant ecosystems. That struck me as a presumptuous statement. I wish that someone who has studied ecology could offer an opinion here. My own opinion is that all natural ecosystems are right for the plants and animals that have adapted to live within them and that none of the plants or animals in these natural systems is more or less important than those in another system. Cultivate is literally the name of the game in permaculture, but I also believe that gardens and farms would ideally imitate nature as much as possible.

This past Summer I studied grasslands north of here and on the eastern side of the mountains as part of an endeavor to save specific areas near my hometown from disruption caused by "frac-drilled" oil wells. Even in that short time period, I discovered that grasslands are very diverse. There are a startling number of grass species and many animals and insects who live with them. Another grassland story took place here in Missoula. A girl I knew had a landscaping job at a nursery. When Mansion Heights was just under construction, they were hired to mow the whole hill. So, this girl on a riding mower and suddenly she noticed a baby deer in the grass before her. She had almost run it over, but it was too scared to move. She felt so bad for scaring it and worried that she had scared away its mother that she had to stop and move to a different task for the rest of the day

This is just an example, of course, of one kind of ecosystem and how it can be important. Missoula is right next to plenty of wilderness, that’s part of what makes it such a cool spot. How do you try to be conscious of your interactions with nature. One person on here said he is trying to have a chemical free lawn, especially because he lives next to Rattlesnake Creek. What else can a person do?
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